BENGALURU: Even as wildlife activists report fire in Phansoli and Kumbharwada wildlife ranges of Kali Tiger Reserve (KTR), the forest department has said that there are no reports of any forest fire in these ranges and only a small patch of half a gunta was burnt due to a beedi stub.
As per documents available with Express, there were fires only in Kulgi Wildlife Range on two days with more than 40 hectares affected. On February 21, five hectares were burnt in Amgaon beat and another 12 hectares in Kavala. On March 3, forest fire destroyed more than 20 hectares in both Amgaon and Kulgi.
Wildlife activists allege that forest officials released alleged offender Shyam Gundu Devdas (45) who was caught red-handed while setting fire in Avurli beat in Phansoli Wildlife Range. Activist Manjunath from this area said, “Shyam set fire to five acres on March 16. He is known to start a fire every year along with one more person. Raghavendra Babu Naik, president of Avurli Eco Development Committee, has stated that Shyam is a mentally challenged person. So forest officials have released him without booking any case.”
He added, “A fire has also been noticed at Rundali in Kumbarwada Wildlife Range. It must be probed and the chief wildlife warden must initiate action against the RFO who has been negligent.”